Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Danielle Langley and Christopher Levy.
One year before the Battle of Yavin (35:3:18) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Fred Pollag Leiliani, Rodney Castle, and Spaceport) and Nerf Herder, and in the Essesia system: Esseles (The Void) and Nerf Herder.
Sophia Cromwell, Fred Pollag, Duchess Livia Rodney, and Lord Marcus Rodney.

Marc sighed as he tiredly sat down on the ramp of the Nerf Herder inside of the hangar on Esseles, a layer of grime and sweat covering his exhausted facial features. It seemed like forever since he had seen Sophia, having been told by his 'employers' that they would kill her unless he took on a series of more difficult missions. Twice they had told him she was dead, only to laugh in his face and tell them they were kidding as he wept uncontrollably in the corner. He had only just returned from a particularly dangerous assignment to Malastare where he nearly lost his life, and without given the opportunity to rest, or even shower, he had been told he would receive a new partner to head off on an even more dangerous mission. Before Sophia it had been years since he worked with someone, and he had worked with no one since. As he rested against the bulkhead of the ship, he rested his forehead in the palm of his hand, allowing his eyes to close as he tried to get some much needed rest while he waited for his 'partner'.

Heels clanked against the ground as she moved. She was already in a bad mood. Her first day of rest was today and she was tired, and anxious. A new partner? Why? What the hell was the point? She brought that cancer stick to rest between her lips as she fumbled through the pack to find her hidden lighter. A flick of the thumb and soft glow and she suck in a soft breath of disease then gently let it out letting the nicotine fill her body. She sighed, reaching up and pulling the stick from her lips. A soft breeze from her lips as she smoke left in twirls before she rounded the corner and looked up. She froze. She'd done good at not showing emotions...but now... Marc..? That was...really him...he looked...tired. She just stood there, the cig dropping from her hand to the ground and soon after the lighter clanked to the ground as well.

Hearing the clank he looked up, his eyes immediately locking on to the smokey female presence across the hangar. He tensed for a moment, trying to swallow but he could not muster any saliva. Slowly his eyes blinked as he looked to her, not wanting to believe what he was seeing. Perhaps it was just a trick ... a holographic image, a clone, a replica droid. Letting out a tired groan he used the support beam of the ramp to lift himself up off the ground so he could more closely examine her. His body trembled slightly, his lower lip quivering. His nostrils flare and he could easily make out her scent ... it instantly reminded him of her and a small smile slowly worked its way onto his soiled face.

"You look like hell..."...But she was already moving. Cig's forgotten, lighter still on the ground. He looked like he was falling apart and it ached her heart to see it. So many days, months have gone by and mission after mission hoping he would show up and save her ass like usual and here he was, falling apart. She was never told he was dead, no.. she was told he had gone with someone else, with more experience..age..better looking and suited for his needs... She moved, and kept moving until she was mere inches from him, stopping just in front of him. "Marc..."

"Is it really you?" Marc asked, tilting his head slightly as he carefully examined her facial features. His right hand moved up slowly, caressing her left cheek and brushing a few disheveled strands of hair away so he could get a better look. His face moved forward, his nose hovering against her ear as he inhaled deeply. Letting out a tired sigh he slid forward, almost falling against her as his arms tightly wrapped against her. Slowly his head turned, placing a soft, weak kiss below the ear.

She was stiff against him at first. She had been caught with emotion once, and that started those evil women's fun time in keeping them apart. But having him against her, truly feeling his weight against her and his arms around her... She slowly wrapped her arms around him and buried her face into the crook of his neck. "Oh Marc...what have they done to seem so weary.." She sighed against his neck and suddenly her grip on him tightened and her voice was soft, breaking gently as if she were holding back. "I've missed you."

The moment had passed and Marc immediately pulled back, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Surely their employers could not let them enjoy such a tender moment, without there being a catch. "G-g-get on the ship..." he said nervously, tiredly stuttering the words as he looked past her into the darkness beyond. He swallowed, Adam's apple bobbing visibly in his throat, as his hands curled into nervous fists. He was unaware that lately his fatigued performance left much to be desired, and it was hoped their repairing might reinvigorate him and produce better results.

"Stop." She glanced back behind her then back to him. "You're going to worry yourself to death." She reached out her hands and took one of his. She moved slowly, though...with a bit more pep in her step and took him with her up the ramp and into the ship, from memory reaching out and whacking whatever needed to be whacked to close the ramp. She let go of his hand, then moved to sit in the pilot's chair. He looked so stressed, she wanted to get him out of here ... to take care of him... Damn just to hold him.

Over the years Marc had developed a severe case of paranoia, something that he attributed to his longevity in his career in his profession. As the hatch closed he let out a slightly relaxed sigh, moving to the cockpit and reacting in surprise when he saw her in the pilot's seat. " remember how to fly this thing?" he asked with genuine concern as he sat in the co-pilot's chair and strapped himself in, his eyes nervously moving towards her.

"How could I forget?" She looked towards him, almost offended, before a smile curled to her lips then. Her smile brightened suddenly remembering who she was smiling at. She turned back and began moving like a well oiled machine. She remembered everything, and was even a better pilot since being on her own. For now, she ignored him as she focused on the fact of take off and breaking atmosphere to geth them the hell out of there.

Once the Nerf Herder entered the atmosphere Marc quickly moved his hand to activate the autopilot and then unstrap himself. He was exhausted, and struggled to stand, but the relief of having her back had already begun to ease most of his tensions. He staggered back to the compartment, almost collapsing onto his bunk, trembling slightly as the effects of the past several months had traumatized him.

She waited...then slowly unstrapped herself and moved towards him. Licking her lips slowly she moved to slide in and sit next to him on his bunk. Her hand reached out and fingers gently stroked his cheek before moving to his shoulder then down his arm. "Oh Marc..." And suddenly... A tear slipped down her cheek and she seemed with a soft whimper to catch herself fighting back tears.

Marc sighed softly when he felt her hand across the face, the first time in what felt like forever. He wanted to reach up for her, but the exhaustion was overwhelming and his battered body was trembling against the cheap cot he lay upon. "Sophia..." he murmured softly as his eyes softly closed, feeling safe and protected once again. He tried to open his eyes, but the strength was not nearly there and he only managed to squint tiredly at her.

"It's ok Marc...Sleep. I'll watch over you..." She moved though so that she could lay next to him. She moved one arm over his stomach and hand to rest on his chest over his heart. Her other arm was beneath her head while her hand moved to play in his hand gently. She leaned in a bit and kissed his cheek, but her body rested against the length of him, whispering softly. "I'll never let them take me away again Marc..."

Morning*Beep* the Nerf Herder's communication system activated, indicating there was an incoming transmission. "Huh. What?" Marc groaned as he woke up, his arm still wrapped around Sophia as the transport moved through hyperspace. He grunted, pushing the smaller woman aside as he moved towards the cockpit, still staggering to get his legs beneath him. As he made his way to the cockpit he slammed his hand down upon the comlink and mumbled, "Transmit." There were only a handful of individuals in the galaxy who had his contact information and whenever he received a transmission, he knew it was important.

Sophia groaned lightly when she got pushed out of the way. Rolling onto her wise with a soft mumbling here and there before she finally reached her hands up and rubbed her eyes gently then slowly sat up. "What's going on?" She stood, stretching before she yawned lightly and moved to stand behind his chair.

The voice of Duchess Livia Rodney crackled through the small communications unit on the ship as she stood in her Castle on the other side of the Galactic Core. "Marcus?" she asked, the transmission not coming in very clearly. The man's tone of voice seemed gravely serious to her, more so than she was used to in her disappointment of a youngest child.

Marcus swallowed, his right index finger moving to his lips to instruct Sophia to be quiet as he turned his attention to the comlink. "Mother?" he repeated cautiously, his voice losing its serious tone. "Mother is everything alright?" he asked as his hand moved to the control panel in a vain attempt to boost the signal.

Sophia's eyes went wide. Mother? He'd spoken of his family and only in context with why he was connected with the witches, but nothing more. She mouthed the word mother, but didn't speak out loud. Why would she? Boy would that stir up some questions, eh? Instead she crossed her arms on the back of the pilot chair and rested her chin on it...waiting.

Livia paused for a moment as she considered the best words to use. She did not like to have serious conversations over a comlink, especially when the signal strength was of such a poor quality. Little did she know that the signal quality was being reduced because it was being intercepted by Marcus' employers on Esseles. "You must come home immediately," she instructed him, without going into any additional details.

Marcus paused, letting out a deep sigh as she considered his mother's words. It must have been important. "...I am on my way," he said after just a moment, deactivating the transmission almost immediately thereafter. The signal degradation worried him that an outside force might be at work. His attention then turned quickly towards the navigational computer to find out exactly where they were.

"Your mother?" A slender brow rose as she watched him before she slid over and into the co-pilots seat. She bit her lower lip. "I don't have a good feeling about this." She had no idea about the tracking or recording device, but that didn't mean she didn't have a woman's intuition that something wasn't right.. She glanced towards him. "Why wouldn't she say what it is?"

"My mother is not a comlink person..." Marcus said, his voice sounding distracted as he was more focused on the navigation computer than her. He shook his head, not happy with the results as he observed they had a great distant to travail. "Don't suppose I can drop you off while I do this?" he asked slowly, not sure if introducing her to his parents was the right move at this point.

A slender brow rose when he said that, and she couldn't tell if he was being serious or not. Her arms crossed over her chest then, and she glared at him for a moment. "That ashamed of me?" She still had not told him what happened while he was out, but...she also stopped giving him the cold just made her tougher if anything.

"I am not ashamed of you, Sophia," Marc explained as he programmed the navigation computer to download the coordinates for the Alderaan system. He had not been home since his brother's wedding and he avoided spending extended periods with his family, who considered him something of a misfit and a failure. "They are ... difficult people," he tried to explain as he watched the progress of the download, not yet giving her eye contact.

"Huh, and here I thought everyone's parents were just peachy." She reached out for her case then, pulling out one of those much needed white sticks in a situation like this. Pinching it just so lightly between her lips, glancing around for her lighter before she sighed and flicked it with her thumb, taking in a deep breath, then slowly letting it out.

Marc was still trying to get used to the idea of Sophia being a smoker and coughed slightly at her first inhale. Once the computer beeped he felt the ship lurch as it adjusted it's hyperspace course. "Well. We're on our way..." he said nervously, more to himself than to her. His mind raced with the possible reasons his mother may have summoned him, but he was more concerned with how Sophia's introduction might go.

"I still think this is a bad idea." She glanced over to him, watching him for a moment before she reached her hand up and plucked that white stick from her lips and gave it a flick of her thumb, though kindly in a little bin. "I've got a bad feeling about this, and it's not just because of your parents..."

"Hopefully we will be in and out," Marcus said in an optimistic tone, though he knew in the back of his mind that they would not be. He sighed, letting his hands move off the controls as the auto-pilot locked in. He turned to look at her, trying his best to smile. "What else worries you?" he asked as he studied her features, now partially obscured in a cloud of smoke.

Sophia never seemed to have trouble picking up a habit she had never begun in the first place. She licked her lips before she leaned back, waiting before slipping the butt of the stick between soft lips and inhaling, then letting out a soft curl of smoke before pulling the stick away. "Those witches let us leave too easy."

"I am sure they are not quite finished with us," Marcus commented as he agreed with her statement. He had yet to find out what they had done to corrupt the beautiful young woman, but he knew better than to push her to find out. He swallowed again, his eyes looking towards the navigation computer ... home looked so far away.

"Why are you so nervous?" She stood, flicking the end of the butt, then slipping the tip back between her lips letting it dangle lightly as she moved to the back of the ship, she had been wearing her armor, but now she was slowly shedding of it, if they had a long trip...something baggy seemed more comfortable.

Marc removed the straps that were securing him to the pilot's seat and he moved to follow her the short distance to the rear of the ship. He waved his hand in front of his face, brushing aside the cloud of smoke that now seemed to follow her wherever she went. His attention was quickly diverted to the bar where he fixed himself a quick drink, for the moment ignoring her change of clothing.

She slipped into the familiar grey tank and grey sweats. Letting the armor just pile up on the ground. She sat on her cot then leaned back. "You seem more on edge. It's not like you're telling them we're getting married. You don't even have to explain who I am... " She sighed, reached up and clamped her fingers over the stick then pulled it slowly from her lips, letting her tongue follow across soft tiers before she shrugged. "Tell them I'm a slave or something."

"Slavery is illegal in the Alderaan system," Marc idly commented as he threw her a wink. "Besides. They never would believe it..." he told her, lowering his head slightly as he shook his head at her. "We need to buy you some clothes to wear..." he said frantically, remembering the level of ostentation that was required when visiting his family home.

She sighed and shook her head. "Do they not know what you are? What you do?" A slender brow rose. Her eyes left him and she kept them on the white stick she now rolled between her fingers, back and forth to keep up with thought. "Just tell them you are giving me a ride, if you really are that ashamed.." She grinned, looking back up to him.

"They know nothing," Marc quickly explained as his eyes flashed quickly to look at her. She was beautiful, but certainly needed some 'refinement' if she were able to fit in among Alderaanian high society. "They think I am 'sightseeing'," he explained with a soft laugh and a quick grin. He could never say it with a straight face no matter how hard he practiced.

"Sightseeing?" She took in a deep breath then let it out before she reached out and smashed the stick against the wall. She seemed to frown lightly, her lips poking out in the softest of pouts as she watched his face. "I'm going to have to be good again, aren't I?" A slender brow rose, she liked having fun, pushing people's buttons and what not.

"Very good," Marc said as she watched her deface the bulkhead of his transport with her cigarra. He shook his head at her as he settled back on his cot. "I will introduce you as my girlfriend..." he said quietly, the words surprising even himself as he lay his head back against his pillow, staring up at the cold, dark durasteel.

Sophia smiled as she got up and moved to sit on his cot, well barely sit on it, licking her lips slowly she looked down to him. "I won't disappoint you." She reached up, resting her hand on his thigh before she shrugged lightly. "I'll be whatever you want me to be, to make them happy."

"I do not want you to be anything but you," Marc said as his hand moved to wrap around her back, pulling her into him. His face moved towards her, pressing a soft kiss upon her cheek. He believed meeting his family would be more difficult than any bounty hunt.

"And yet you want me to be good? You can only have it one way Marc..." She smiled lightly then, sliding until she could curl into his body, biting her lower lip with a sigh.

"You are very good," Marc pointed out with a slight chuckle, his eyes beginning to drift closed as the transport continued its way through hyperspace. They would be coming up on the Alderaan system soon, and there would be no time to rest then.

"We'll see about that," she snuggled up close to him. Sophia still had nightmares about what happened on her home planet, but getting lost in his arms, in his warmth seemed a perfect way to escape it. She took in a deep breath and slowly let it out, kissing his cheek lightly.

The Nerf Herder emerged from hyperspace in the Alderaan system, causing a loud alarm to sound throughout the entire ship. Marc was laying on his cot in the back of his ship, one arm wrapped around Sophia when he heard the noise. He had not slept since he received transmission from his mother and therefore was not awoken when the alarm went off. His eyes opened and he released a tired, uncomfortable sigh as he peeled her body off his. "Time to get up sweetheart," he said in a tired, grizzled voice as he staggered towards the cockpit without getting dressed. He sat down in the pilot's seat and gripped the controls and began maneuvering the transport towards the nearby planet Delaya.

"Great..."She sighed and groaned, she was in a bad mood waking up from the alarm. She slept just fine after the transmission it didn't seem to bother her just yet. She licked her lips and slowly sat up before she would stretch, then stand and move slowly towards the co-pilot's chair. Biting her lower lip a moment she glanced to him, narrowed eyes giving away her bad mood. "I ran out of cigarras yesterday..."

Marc looked at her nervously, knowing how people could get when they did not have their fix. "...we'll pick some up in the spaceport," he informed her as the planet Delaya grew larger in the world. It looked to be a vibrant world with deep blue oceans and green continents clearly visible, it had been his home since birth but he rarely visited these days. There was too much risk involved. "We'll also get you some clothes..." he added nervously as the Nerf Herder entered the atmosphere and began speeding towards the planet.

"I don't need any clothes." She narrowed her eyes, already in a grumpy mood, without those cancer sticks to suck on she was in an even worse mood. She glared at him before she put her seatbelt on and relaxed back in her chair as she looked out the window before them. She enjoyed the view though, of his home planet. Watching as it grew larger and larger.

"You can't wear your armor to meet my parents..." Marc said nervously, his hand slipping from the controls and nearly sending the transport hurdling out of control. "Woah..." he gasped as he suddenly regained the control and managed a more controlled descent towards the planet's major city. "We need to get you a dress..." he admitted nervously, his face turning away from hers in fear of reprisal.

"A dress?!" Her eyes were wide. She glared at him, watching him. She licked her lips slowly then her fist banged into the console lightly "I refuse to wear a dress, Marc! That's ridiculous, I am not here to impress them I am here to find out what's going on!" She grumbled, she was simply waiting for her sticks, she would be more negotiable then.

"But... it's formal..." Marc said nervously, his cheeks flushing red as he entered a state of near-panic she had not previously observed. By now the transport had reached the docking bay, and he carefully maneuvered the ship above their assigned docking bay. He turned to look at her, the ship rocking back and forth as he barely managed the controls. There was a loud crash as they finally settled down, the entire ship rattling. She had flustered him and it had nearly killed them.

"Marcus! Damn it! Watch where the hell you're flying!" .She threw off her seat belt, stood up, moved towards the hatch and slammed her hand down on the button to lower the hatch. Stepping down the steps slowly. She did not know where she was going in this place so she waited for him on the dock, crossing her arms over her chest.

Marc sat there for a while and unleashed a deep breath before he unstrapped himself as well. He moved to the back of the ship and threw on a pair of slacks and hurried down the ramp after her. "Sophia..." he called out, moving quickly to be with her. The moment they were on the planet people began to stare at him. There were whispers and people would smile politely and nod. He did his best to be polite exchanging glances and returning nods. He was home and it sickened him.

"Don't." She turned to face him. Watching him for a moment, then glanced towards the people they were slowly passing. She took in a deep breath and sighed. "Fine, take me to a damned shop, but I am picking out what I am wearing. In the meantime..." a smirk curled to her lips then, " can get me some sticks, ok?" A slender brow rose as she looked up to him.

"Fine," Marc said as he extended his arm to her. "Follow me," he said, guiding her out of the spaceport and towards one of the local street vendors. He shifted nervously, having never actually purchased them before. "Pack of cigarras," he announced calmly, flashing a look up to the vendor. He then reached into his pocket to pull out a credit chip.

"N-n-no charge, Milord," the shopkeeper nervously responded as he tossed the pack of cigarras towards the nobleman. He did his best to smile, a profound desire to impress the man overwhelming him.

"Thank you," Marc said to the vendor as he turned his attention towards Sophia. He handed her the pack quickly and began walking towards the merchant district. "Wasn't so hard..." he pointed out with a smile as he took a moment to get his bearings. It had been quite sometime since he had been to Islip and was not sure if he was headed in the right direction.

"What?" She took the pack, slid out her case and began placing the cigarras into the case, before she pulled one free, pressed it lightly between her lips, flicking her lighter with her thumb, closing her eyes and taking in a deep breath then slowly letting it out with a poof os smoke and a sigh. She began to follow him, keeping the stick between soft lips to dangle lightly. "That man, just gave these to you for free, he was terrified of you. What the hell are you here? "

"My father is something here. I am just his son..." Marc explained as he headed down one of the major streets towards a shop he was vaguely familiar with. As they walked a speeder stopped and someone got out, immediately snapping several holographic images of them. Marc groaned, covering his face as he moved faster down the street towards their destination.

"I'll just bet you are..." She blinked when a speeder stopped and cursing under her breath she was quick to want to reach for her gun, but she did not Whenever her eyes laid eyes on their destination her hand reached for his and she ran for it taking him with her before slipping inside. Her eyes were fired up with anger as she glared to him. "Remind me when we're done with kill you for it."

As Marc stepped inside of the boutique, the shop keeper ran from the counter and began to bow before the nobleman, viewing this as an excellent chance to make a profit. "It is a pleasure to serve you again, Milord," the shopkeeper said as he looked from the man to the woman. "And what a beautiful young woman we have here," he commented as he reached out for her hand and attempted to kiss it. "What may I do for you today?" he asked excitedly as he ushered them into his store.

Sophia jerked her hand away only to pull a gun on instinct and point it towards the man. She was from the low end of the spectrum while Marc here was from the high and mighty. So that close, someone trying to grab at her meant a bad thing, her eyes narrowed, her other hand reached up and slowly pulled the stick from between her lips. "Try that again, and I'll phase your brains out." She shook her head then slowly slipped the gun back and left glaring eyes towards Marc, just waiting.

"Woah, woah, woah," Marc said as she stepped between the two of them, presenting his back to Sophia's blaster. "I'm sorry," he said apologetically to the merchant as he reached his arm around the man's shoulder. "I need a suit and the lady needs a dress," he explained as his eyes turned towards Sophia, offering a polite smile and nod.

"Yes...yes...of course," the shopkeeper said nervously as he looked toward Sohpia's weapon. He had never a blaster pulled on him before, but for Marc's credits he would gladly tolerate such a thing. He glided across the shop towards a series of mannequins that had lovely dresses on them of all designs and colors. Some would seem to cost more than their ship. "Are you looking for anything special, my dear?" he asked the woman as he began pulling a light blue dress of the rack.

She watched him with narrowed eyes now. The shopkeeper was suddenly on her hate list. "How would I know? I've never worn a dress before." A slender brow rose, then she shrugged lightly. She didn't even know to look at the prices, hell she didn't know a damned thing about dresses in the first place. She glanced towards Marc then stepped closer to the shopkeeper. "The hell are you grabbing for me?"

The shopkeeper did his best to avoid being turned off by Sophia's lack of class. Instead, he pulled a dark purple, velveteen dress off the rack and moved towards her. He tilted his head, his eyes running over her body approvingly. "Hmm," he murmured as his eyes moved back up to her face. "Yes. Yes I believe this will fit..." he commented as he extended towards her. His eyes moved towards the changing room nearby.

"Hey Hero..." She did not say his name out loud, out of habit...but her voice did not sound happy. She glanced towards him then took in a deep breath and slowly let it out with a sigh shaking her head. Licking her lips slowly she moved towards the changing room, slipping inside she turned to face the shopkeeper and the dresses. "I'm going to hate this aren't I?"

"You are going to look great, Sophia," Marc said as he offered a genuine smile. By now he was on the opposite side of the story trying on a suit that he thought would make a good impression on his parents. He saw them so seldom and he wanted them not to fear for his wellbeing. Content with his attire, he moved to check on her progress.

She took forever, grumbling, cursing. But soon she stumbled out wearing the light blue dress first. It hugged her form, dipped low to accentuate her breasts, and her hair fell just right around her face. She looked like a completely different person. Despite being angry...she was nervous wearing a dress.

"You look fantastic," Marc said as he reached out to her, offering up a pair of matching shoes and a small purse. He smiled from ear-to-ear as he paid for his suit and her dress and accessories. It was a sizable sum, but worth it as he wanted desperately to make a good impression with his family. After all, he had never brought a woman home before.

She slipped the shoes on, slipping her case in the little purse and began to follow him, her attitude trying to shape up. She bit her lower lip and began moving slowly making sure she didn't stumble as she followed him. "Marc...I feel like a fool wearing this..." One thing she had not mentioned that she kept a blaster strapped to her inner thigh.

"You look anything but a fool," Marc said to her as he turned to look over their shoulder. As he stepped out into the street a luxury speeder presented itself and Marc spoke to the driver. A moment later, the door was opened and he slipped inside, motioning for Sophia to follow. He cleared his throat nervously, his mouth dry as the nerves began to overtake him.

She slipped inside gracefully. Licking her lips slowly before she watched him get in and once the door was shut her hand was on his inner thigh, squeezing and sliding slowly up and down his thigh, hoping to distract him. "Marc, calm down. The more nervous you are the worse it's going to get, please...just calm yourself OK?"

Marc was breathing uncomfortable and there were small drops of sweat forming on his forehead. The speeder accelerated through the city and soon they would find themselves in the open terrain of Delaya, heading towards his family's ancestral estate. The closer they got, the more rapid his heart seemed to be beating. "I am sorry, Sophia..." he said to her as he struggled to regain his composure. This would not be an easy visit and he still was not sure what the problem that had brought him here was.

She reached up then, her fingers slowly caressing his cheek as she turned him towards her, then her lips pressed to him. She kissed him, deep, hot, and passionate. Enough to slow his heart rate for now. Slow it enough so he could calm himself down. She reached up with her other hand fingers tracing within his hair to keep him kissing her.

Marc settled into her kiss, moving his arm around her to hold her against him. It soothed him as she pressed his lips to his, but he could still taste the unusual smoky flavor on her lips. Soon the speeder arrived at the ancient castle, moving past the gate house as it began accelerate up the mountain. In the distance the castle could be seen, looming over the surrounding countryside. It had stood there for nearly a thousand years and was home to every member of his family since they had gained control over this planet. It was a burn that proved too much to him, causing him to flee and take on the mantle of the nerf herder.

She would kiss him until the speeder would stop. Then her lips slowly pulled away, her voice was soft, yet heavy and full of lusty things. "I love you Marc, don't worry we'll both get through this." She smiled sweetly and moved to press her lips to his cheek gently then slowly seemed to sit back and her eyes found the...castle. She'd pictured a mansion...not a castle. "Oh wow..."

The driver opened the door of the speeder and Marc was the first to exit. Once he was out, he offered his arm to assist her. He tried to force a smile on his lips, the sweet smell of the Delaya countryside permeating through his lips. He had spent his boyhood here, but he had grown up and moved beyond it. "Welcome to my home..." he said to Sophia with a small smile on his lips, trying to keep a straight face.

She slipped out of the speeder, her arm looped in his. She smile brightly, her smile was sweet and real. Once she had gotten out of the speeder she seemed like the perfect image of a lady. She looked up to him then. "It looks absolutely beautiful Marc.." She moved her other hand to rest on his arm as she followed his lead to his home.

"You could marry me and move in, you know..." Marc said as he offered her a quick smile. Before the woman could arrive servants opened the large doors that gave them a view into the expansive entry room of the castle. There were paintings, sculptures, and tapestries dating back nearly a millennia. As he stepped inside he took a moment to look around, his eyes catching the staircase. He remembered fondly riding down the railing with his brother, but that felt like another lifetime. He waited patiently, not knowing who from his family would greet them.

"Marc..." Her voice was soft when he said that. It was not the moving in with him, hell it was not living in this place, it was the first part. But she would have to bug him about that later. She looked towards the servants, biting her lower lip for a moment before she looked back towards marc. Her arms around his arm holding a little bit tighter. She wasn't use to places like these...servants and what not.

A regal woman who appeared to be in her mid-seventies descended the staircase. She wore a light green dress that did much to conceal her wrinkled and ancient body that had long ago lost its luster. She looked tired, but seemed to brighten when she saw Marcus standing there. Hurrying the rest of the way, perhaps a bit too fast for a woman her age, she reached out and wrapped Marc in a firm hug. She was Livia Rodney, Duchess of Delaya, but to Marc she was simply 'mom'.

Marc let out a soft sigh as his mother embraced his, his arms moving around her frail body as he offered a soft pat on her upper back. He pulled his head back slightly and smiled at her. "You look well, mother," he said genuinely as he looked her over. He still was not sure why he had been brought home, but given the bags beneath her eyes he could tell it was urgent.

Sophia stood back, but she stood with her back straight, looking very much a lady and waiting to be introduced. Once the seriousness of how nervous Marc was hit her...she realized how much she needed to keep acting proper. She simply primped her hair lightly while she waited, though her eyes never left them, watching their hug...something about it...made her slightly miss her...own family.

"And who is this lovely young woman?" Livia asked as she looked past her youngest son and smiled politely towards Sophia. She took a step towards the right, pushing her son away from her. She had never before seen a woman with her son before, and it was a pleasant surprise. One that brought a smile to the old woman's face.

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